Framed by the distant peaks of the Helderberg Mountains, Western Turnpike Golf Course's 27-hole layout blankets 250 acres of scenic terrain stitched by pine trees. Though the three nines connect to form three distinct 18-hole courses, the presence of multiple ponds, streams, and small, well-fortified greens act as a unifying feature across the entire grassy labyrinth. The horticultural haven is also peppered by a relatively sparse population of 37 sand bunkers, their scarcity due to the abundance of water hazards and previous issues with disoriented sunbathers. With three courses offering various levels of difficulty and four tee options on each course, Western Turnpike presents a sound golf challenge for bona fide aces, mid-handicappers, and those trying to play with a croquet mallet.
Carved through stands of towering trees, Whispering Pines Golf Club's 18-hole, par 55 executive course challenges par-hunting form across 2,315 yards. Each hole ends at undulating greens that make any two-putt a tricky proposition. Most golfers can complete their round in 2 hours and 20 minutes, freeing up time to practice at the club's all-grass driving range or spoon their golf bag in the soft bed of the practice bunker.
Pioneer Hills Golf Course wastes no time in testing players: two of the course's first five holes are among its longest. Those initial hurdles set the tone for 18 holes worth of stiff challenges, stretched out across 5,371 yards of Saratoga County's lush landscape. But Pioneer Hills offers golfers perks off the course, too. A PGA professional conducts private lessons, and the pro shop remains open year-round. And the course's on-site restaurant Duffers Pub, which was outfitted with a new kitchen and menu in 2014, dishes out food and hot coffee for early morning rounds, keeping players alert enough to fend off any gophers trying to block their putts.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 70 course * Distance of 5,371 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Course slope of 116 * Course rating of 69.5 * Click here to see the scorecard
Though an 18-hole course today, Canajoharie Golf and Country Club had, for most of its life, just nine holes. The original course was established in 1936, and hosted such golf luminaries as Craig Wood and Paul Runyan?both stars of their day, even though they used wooden drivers. It wasn't until 1992 that the second nine was added, bringing the course up to its present length of 6,146 yards with a par of 71.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,146 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 69 from the back tees * Course slope of 118 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
The subject of a recent, aggressive overhaul to improve course conditioning, Hales Mills Country Club challenges golfers with a 6,100, par-71 layout. The course shares the green landscape with an all-grass driving range, where golfers can warm up their swing or test out the efficacy of their new camouflage golf bag. After rounds, golfers can unwind at the on-site restaurant, which serves dinner specials and classic pub fare.
In 1903, Orrin E. Smith sculpted a nine-hole course at Windsor Lake called North Adams Gentleman's Club, challenging golfers to take on its rolling terrain and bask in the peaceful effect of its verdant expanse. Though the name of the course has changed, the Berkshire Hills terrain remains a picturesque setting for players of all skill levels to enjoy golf as a relaxing pastime. A large lake forms the centerpiece of the course, forcing players to evade its watery reaches on holes four, seven, and nine, or risk donating their balls to the course historian holding court in his underwater lair.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par 36 course * Total length of 2,899 yards from back tees * Course rating of 67 from the back tees * Course slope of 119 from the back tees * Two sets of tees per hole * Designed by Orrin E. Smith